2012 NFL Draft Grades: Justin Blackmon
By Luke Sims
Dec 30, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon (14) runs with the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
FOX Sports is going through each first round pick from the 2012 NFL Draft and “grading” them. The term “grade” is kind of misleading because they are really just assessing the expectations coming in and what the player actually did and then predicting what’s next. Here’s what they had to say about Blackmon:
"Team: Jacksonville JaguarsExpectations coming in: Blackmon was supposed to supply some instant juice for what was the NFL’s worst passing attack in 2011.How’d he do?: Blackmon got off to a slow start before a 236-yard outing against Houston in Week 11. He finished the season with 64 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns.What’s next?: For Blackmon to fulfill his potential, the Jaguars must find an answer at quarterback."
It was pretty apparent in Jacksonville that Blackmon wasn’t an immediate success. He dropped passes, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time on a lot of routes, and he wasn’t winning his match-ups as anticipated. Fortunately, as noted in the analysis, week 11 really turned things around and the top wide receiver from the 2012 class turned in a rookie-best 865 yards at the end of the season.
It seems to me that Blackmon took a little bit of time to adjust to the speed of the NFL and what was expected of him. His role in head coach Mike Mularkey’s complex offense was varied and the options on his route tree may have been too complex while he was still adjusting to the big leagues. He definitely seemed more comfortable in the later part of the season and it was apparent that he was putting it together. While fulfilling his potential is definitely reliant on strong quarterback play, there’s no reason Blackmon can’t equal his rookie numbers in 2013 and maybe post 1,000+ yards, especially now that he’s up to speed.
Because FOX didn’t feel like giving an actual grade, I’ll give a B+ to Blackmon for being part of the biggest receiving threat tandem the Jaguars have had in almost a full decade but not being the major threat he should be until week 11.
– Luke N. Sims
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